Used Corvettes are worth $26,000 more than they were new last year. Here are 8 more used cars that gained value since 2020.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette_KL_24
2020 Chevrolet Corvette.

  • Used-car prices are at record highs, and prices on some models are spiking.
  • CNN analyzed Edmunds.com data to compare new retail prices in 2020 with used retail prices in 2021.
  • The Corvette saw the biggest gain of nearly $26,000, due in part to fewer new ones being made.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The used-car market is at record highs, especially for popular styles that are nearly new.

Normally, a car loses as much as a quarter of its value in its first year, but a CNN analysis of Edmunds.com data found that a few models have actually increased in value since leaving dealers’ lots.

The comparison looked at new retail prices in 2020 and used retail prices in 2021 to see which cars were worth more, and a few had increased so much that their trade-in value was more than the original sale price.

Here are nine models that have gained the most value in the past year.

Subaru Impreza +$224

Subaru Impreza
Subaru Impreza.

2020 New: $22,614

2021 Used: $22,838

Subaru’s Indiana plant was temporarily shut down because of the chip shortage, and larger, more profitable models like the Outback and Ascent may have taken precedence.

Kia Telluride +$1,433

2020 Kia Telluride.
2020 Kia Telluride.

2020 New: $42,609

2021 Used: $44,042

Kia struck gold with the Telluride, its extremely popular three-row SUV, but production has not been able to keep pace with demand.

Honda Civic +$1,740

2020 Honda Civic Si
The 2020 Honda Civic Si.

2020 New: $22,709

2021 Used: $24,449

If you traded in your year-old Honda Civic, you would get just $1,200 less than you paid for it, or just $100 per month of ownership. That’s not bad.

Jeep Wrangler +$3,193

2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon EcoDiesel
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon EcoDiesel.

2020 New: $44,341

2021 Used: $47,534

American drivers can’t get enough of the rugged Wrangler.

Toyota 4Runner +$3,802

2019 Toyota 4Runner
Toyota 4Runner.

2020 New: $43,403

2021 Used: $47,205

The iconic 4Runner helped make SUVs the most popular category of all. Enough said.

Chevrolet Camaro +$4,638

2020 Chevrolet Camaro LT1
Chevrolet Camaro LT1.

2020 New: $37,879

2021 Used: $42,517

Camaro production was curtailed in order to direct the available chips to higher-profit-margin vehicles like trucks and SUVs.

Dodge Challenger +$5,754

2020 Dodge Challenger sports car
2020 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack.

2020 New: $41,766

2021 Used: $47,520

Like the Camaro, new Challengers weren’t able to dodge the chip shortage.

Ram 2500 +$6,668

dodge ram

2020 New: $56,768

2021 Used: $63,436

The CNN report attributed part of the increased demand for heavy-duty pickups to an increase in sales of campers and RVs. A Ford F-250 is also now worth more in trade than it sold for new.

Chevrolet Corvette +$25,812

2020 Chevrolet Corvette_KL_31
2020 Chevrolet Corvette.

2020 New: $81,425

2021 Used: $107,237

Production of new Corvettes has been interrupted this year by supply-chain problems, but notably not due to the semiconductor shortage that has impacted other makers.

 

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Car sellers are suddenly earning a profit on vehicles with broken engines and frames, as tight auto supply sends prices soaring to record levels

Used car sale dealership
Car dealership.

  • A lack of supply of new vehicles pushed used car prices to record highs in May.
  • The CEO of an online marketplace told Forbes he’s paying a premium price for damaged cars.
  • “We’re making money on these because auction pricing is so intense and high,” he said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

It’s no secret that the used car market is absolutely bonkers lately, but demand has gotten so strong and supply so tight that one dealer says he’s now buying cars he previously would never have considered.

“We’ve been seeing things clear at 103%, 110% to MMR (Manheim Market Report)- cars that we bring in we would never sell that are damaged, like frame damage or need massive engine rebuild,” said Toby Russell, co-CEO at online used vehicle marketplace Shift.com, in an interview with Forbes.

“Normally we would lose a little money on that, but we’re making money on these because auction pricing is so intense and high. It’s just a total dislocation in the market caused by a surge in demand and lack of supply coming from new cars,” he said.

Russell told Forbes that Shift now pays 25% more for vehicles than it did a the start of the year.

“That’s like crazy,” he said. “Usually used cars will depreciate 1% per week but the car sitting in your driveway is likely to be worth 25-30% more than it was in January.”

At the start of May, used-vehicle prices reached an all-time high, topping more than $22,500, according to a Cox Automotive analysis of vAuto Available Inventory data.

“Given the strong demand from consumers, and the tight supply situation, it seems likely that used-vehicle prices, already at all-time highs, will continue to rise,” said Charlie Chesbrough, Cox Automotive senior economist. “At some point, prices will become too high, and demand will recede. But we are not there yet.”

The supply of used vehicles on dealers’ lots is less than half of what it was this time last year (fewer people were buying cars then), and it’s also well below the same month in 2019.

As sales taper off from their frenetic pace earlier in the spring, Chesbrough says there’s a simple reason for the slowdown: “Folks can’t buy what isn’t there.”

Jonathan Banks, vice president of Valuations Services at J.D. Power, said used retail prices are up 15% this year with no signs of backing down.

“Used-vehicle prices have shown no signs of softening and are expected to remain exceptionally strong for the foreseeable future,” he said.

If you are looking to buy or sell a car and have a story to share, contact this reporter at dreuter@insider.com

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Review: The $84,090 Porsche Macan GTS is the practical combination of a sports car and a luxury SUV

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_26
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

  • The Macan and Cayenne SUVs were Porsche’s best-selling vehicles in 2020, with the Macan winning out.
  • The Macan GTS drives and handles like something much smaller and way more fun.
  • My 2020 loaner model started at $71,300. After options, it came to $84,090.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Given the plethora of available compact luxury SUVs these days, you’d almost think the Porsche Macan would vanish into a sea of jelly bean-shaped anonymity. You’d be wrong. You’d be so wrong.

Even in base-trim, the Macan is a riot to drive. But today, we’re here to talk about the Macan GTS. In the Macan’s four-trim lineup, the GTS ranks second from the top below the range-topping Macan Turbo. And while you might be quick to dismiss the GTS model because it isn’t the most powerful or most expensive Macan there is, slow down.

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_22
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

For too long, buyers had to choose between either buying a sports car or an SUV. There was no compromise.

Now there is.

The 2020 Macan GTS: Voted most popular

Launched in 2014 as a smaller and sportier step down from the Cayenne, the Macan was refreshed for 2019 most significantly to get a heckblende rear taillight. Pre-refresh Macans have two separate taillights instead of one long one; this is the easiest way to tell them apart.

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_29
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

Currently, the Macan is Porsche’s best-selling vehicle. With 18,631 sold in 2020, it beat the Cayenne by 539 units.

Now, it’s plain as day that SUVs are the Porsche moneymakers. But the fact that the newer, smaller – and cheaper – Macan has stolen the top spot from the Cayenne in today’s SUV-obsessed market speaks volumes to the car’s popularity with buyers, which is well-earned.

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_3
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

The differences between the 2020 Macan GTS, which was what my loaner was, and the 2021 Macan GTS are minimal. Save for a few changes to the Premium Package Plus and the addition of Apple CarPlay, the two are essentially the same.

Details and safety ratings: A quick SUV

Powered by a 2.9-liter, twin-turbocharged V6, the Macan GTS produces a claimed 375 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. It has all-wheel drive as standard and Porsche’s seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission.

Porsche Macan GTS._OEM11
Porsche Macan GTS.

Porsche estimates the Macan GTS’s top speed to be 162 mph, and its 0-to-60 acceleration time to be 4.7 seconds. That drops to 4.5 seconds with the addition of the Sport Chrono option.

Length comes to 15.4 feet and width comes to 6.4 feet. Curb weight is 4,370 pounds and total towing capacity comes to 4,409 pounds.

At 17.6 cubic feet with the rear seats upright, the Macan GTS doesn’t have the roomiest trunk out there, but it’ll fit a week’s worth of groceries or a few weekend bags in a pinch. With a fuel tank capacity of 19.8 gallons, the Macan GTS returns 17 mpg in the city, 22 mpg on the highway, and 19 mpg combined.

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_45
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

The 2020 Porsche Macan GTS has not been rated for crashworthiness by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Though, despite the lack of publicly available crash test ratings, the car still earned a Consumer Reports recommendation.

What stands out: Tactile heaven

Porsche appears to be one of the last automakers to offer button-friendly interiors. There’s an infotainment screen, obviously, but there are still buttons and dials for the various radio and climate controls. The speedometer and tachometer are still analog dials.

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_40
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

The most immediately delightful part of the Macan is its steering wheel. Petite and thin in your hands, the wheel is tidily minimalist, lacking in extraneous buttons. Instead, it has computer mouse-like scroll wheels for the volume on one side and for a few driver information menus on the other. That’s it.

The selectable driver modes are located on a dial down by your right thumb that you can easily toggle by feel without taking your eyes off the road.

The rest of the Macan GTS’s interior has some pretty great tactile feedback. The left-handed ignition clunks heavily when you turn it, kicking the car to life or putting it to sleep. The gear selector thunks resolutely into place. The paddle shifters feel like milled metal and clink if you tap on them. The scroll wheels on the steering wheel buzz cheerfully in their cradles.

When cars all inevitably switch to touchscreen setups, swipe functions, and engine start/stop buttons, this is the stuff I’ll miss the most.

Porsche Macan GTS._OEM7
Porsche Macan GTS.

Combine the tight and responsive steering with a lightning-fast transmission and a torquey engine and you’ve got something cracking exciting on your hands. With an SUV’s ground clearance, you still sit high, yet somehow the chassis doesn’t lean terribly much in the corners. Bafflingly, the car feels like it shrinks around you instead.

Though quiet when the sport exhaust isn’t activated, the Macan GTS burbles and pops with V6 rasp encouragingly in Sport and Sport Plus modes.

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_33
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

All of these things urge you to drive with a bit more pep than you normally would. A bit more daringly. It rewards a heavier foot with punchy acceleration. A flick of the steering wheel with the nose-down eagerness of a dog in pursuit. And you finally feel it – that small smile tug at the corner of your mouth. Because the Macan GTS is fun, man.

What falls short: Too much of a good thing

There are two very minor grievances I had with the Macan GTS. The first is with the buttons.

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_39
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

I know! I just got done praising those very buttons. And as much as I love that they’re there, the arrangement is a bit chaotic. A ridge of buttons adorns either side of the center console. Overhead, another fleet of them dances around the cabin light.

I’m sure once you get used to the placement you’ll remember where everything is, but it’s overwhelming at first. I appreciated the grouping – all the traction and suspension control buttons are presented together, as are all the climate and seat heating/cooling buttons – but the buttons were still all in one concentrated spot: the center console.

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_37
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

If I had it my way, I’d put a bigger physical break between the groups, perhaps even separating them away from each other for ease of muscle memory. But let me be clear: I will take a dizzying array of buttons any day over a purely touchscreen interface.

Secondly, legroom in the back seat wasn’t stellar. For those shorter in the leg or for shorter trips, it’s fine. For taller folks on longer trips, stretching out might be a problem.

How the Macan GTS compares to its competitors: Power per dollar

The base price for the 2020 Macan GTS, which is what I had as a loaner, starts at $71,300. The 2021 Macan GTS sees a very slight price bump up to $72,100.

Porsche Macan GTS._OEM4
Porsche Macan GTS.

After options such as Mamba Green metallic paint ($700), the torque-vectoring plus package ($1,500), the heated multifunction GT sport steering wheel ($590), Sport Chrono package ($1,360), and Premium Package Plus ($5,020 with a Bose audio system, ventilated front seats, auto-dimming mirrors, and a panoramic sunroof) – plus the non-negotiable $1,350 destination and delivery fee – the final price of my loaner came to $84,090.

Yes. It’s a lot of money.

Porsche Macan GTS._OEM2
Porsche Macan GTS.

The Macan GTS can count the BMW X3 M40i ($56,600), Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 ($59,900), Jaguar F-Pace R-Dynamic S ($65,200), Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio ($80,800), Land Rover Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic ($58,500) and Audi SQ5 ($52,900) as competitors.

It is nearly the most expensive option in that luxury compact SUV segment, even though its power is pretty evenly matched with the rest of the competition. But hey! You get a Porsche badge, if you’re into that.

Our impressions: Sports car disguised as an SUV

After seeing just how many other options there are to choose from, it’s easy to dismiss the Macan GTS as just another luxury SUV. But my advice would be to drive one first. Although the car’s dimensions suggest something far larger, it drives more like a hot hatchback.

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_18
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

Due to its smaller size and lighter weight, the Macan GTS doesn’t need busloads of horsepower to make a point. Porsche pulled that off by pairing an athletic chassis and suspension setup with a turbocharged engine tuned for hauling ass. There’s a deftness to the way the SUV handles that’s not unlike what you’d find in a sports car.

Unfortunately, $72,100 is the starting price for that fun. I’m not here to tell you how to spend your money, but if there’s some disagreement between the Macan you want and how much cash you’ve got – well, there’s always the used market after a couple of years.

♦♦♦

Porsche Macan GTS._OEM6
Porsche Macan GTS.

Porsche Macan GTS._OEM5
Porsche Macan GTS.

Porsche Macan GTS._OEM9
Porsche Macan GTS.

Porsche Macan GTS._OEM1
Porsche Macan GTS.

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_35
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_44
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_19
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_27
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_32
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_34
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_16
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_4
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_28
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_17
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

2020 Porsche Macan GTS._KL_14
2020 Porsche Macan GTS.

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Hyundai’s most popular SUV just got a revolutionary redesign and a $24,950 base price – see the new Tucson

2022 Hyundai Tucson_1
2022 Hyundai Tucson.

  • The 2022 Hyundai Tucson is the all-new, fourth generation of the automaker’s best-selling vehicle.
  • Inside, it’s spacious and airy, with dual-stacked touchscreens.
  • The new Tucson will be available in the US in the first half of 2021. Prices start at $24,950.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Back in September, Hyundai showed us the new, fourth-generation 2022 Hyundai Tucson in all of its geometric glory, sporting new tech and an airy interior. With its arrival at dealerships fast approaching, we now have an idea of how much it’ll cost.

On Monday, the automaker announced that prices for the new Tucson will start at $24,950 for the front-wheel drive, 2.5-liter engine SE trim. There will be a total of 15 different trim combinations, with the range-topping Limited HEV hybrid version starting at $37,350.

All prices exclude the $1,185 destination and handling fee.

You can see a full rundown of the new Tucson’s prices below.

2022 Hyundai Tucson pricing.
2022 Hyundai Tucson pricing.

Last year, the automaker unveiled the latest version of its globally best-selling model and its most popular SUV in the US. It comes with a “jewel-like” front grille made up of “half-mirror type daytime running lamps that are assimilated seamlessly within the parametric grille” and are “only revealed when illuminated.” Neat!

2022 Hyundai Tucson_3
2022 Hyundai Tucson.

It’s the same story from the back: the new Tucson has full-width tail lights that have half-hidden triangles on them that you can only see when they’re lit. These design elements make the Tucson unlike all of the other cars in the saturated SUV market.

Engine options include a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, good for a claimed 187 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. It’s hooked up to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

2022 Hyundai Tucson_6
2022 Hyundai Tucson.

Then there’s the 1.6-liter, turbocharged hybrid or plug-in hybrid option. That engine makes a claimed 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque combined. There’s also a sportier N Line performance version of the new Tucson that’ll start at $30,600.

The Tucson will have available all-wheel drive, including on the N Line model. Previous versions of it had eco, comfort, smart, and sport driving modes. The newest version has mud, sand, and snow conditions added in certain markets.

2022 Hyundai Tucson_2
2022 Hyundai Tucson.

Inside, the Tucson appears quite spacious indeed. The dashboard is kept low relative to the window line, which will hopefully improve visibility. Similar to Mercedes-Benz, the interior will now come with 64 different colors of ambient lighting that have 10 levels of adjustable brightness.

There are two stacked 10.25-inch full touch screens that house controls for the navigation system, infotainment, and climate. If you’re someone who likes buttons, this might not be the interior for you. Hyundai even made it a point to say that the screens are “exempt of hard buttons.”

2022 Hyundai Tucson_7
2022 Hyundai Tucson.

There’s also a feature called Car-to-Home, which lets you control your smart home appliances from the car. Hyundai said with Car-to-Home, you can turn on the air conditioner at home before you get there, for example.

There’s also a full suite of safety features that include forward collision-avoidance assist, pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot view monitor, surround-view monitor, and reverse parking collision-avoidance assist.

2022 Hyundai Tucson_5
2022 Hyundai Tucson.

And, as mentioned previously, the 2022 Tucson will be available in two different-length wheelbases, depending on the market. The car is for sale already in Korea as a 2021 model. In the US, it will be available in the first half of 2021 as a 2022 model.

2022 Hyundai Tucson_4
2022 Hyundai Tucson.

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Here is what we know about the Genesis GV80 that Tiger Woods was driving when he crashed

2021 Genesis GV80_OEM_15
2021 Genesis GV80.

  • The interior of the Genesis GV80 helped cushion Tiger Woods during the crash, according to the LA County Sheriff.
  • Genesis is the sponsor of the PGA Tour tournament Woods was hosting last week.
  • Car and Driver gave the vehicle a rating of 10/10.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Tiger Woods remains hospitalized in Los Angeles with injuries he sustained in a rollover car crash this week, an accident the LA County Sheriff’s Office said could have been worse if the golfer hadn’t been cushioned by his SUV’s interior.

Woods was driving a Genesis GV80, the brand’s first SUV. Genesis is a luxury brand sold by Korean automaker Hyundai. 

During Tuesday’s crash, the vehicle’s front end and and bumpers were destroyed, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said during a press conference. But the interior of the car was not severely damaged, helping Woods survive, Villanueva said. 

“The interior of the vehicle was more or less intact which kind of gave him the cushion to survive what otherwise would’ve been a fatal crash,” Villanueva said.

Genesis is the sponsor of the Genesis Invitational, a PGA Tour tournament that Woods was hosting at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.

The company didn’t respond to Insider’s request for comment. But, Genesis Motor North America CEO Mark Del Rosso said in a statement Tuesday he was “heartbroken to hear that Tiger was in an accident this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”

Some of the GV80’s safety features include an omnidirectional anti-collision technology that analyzes driving conditions as they occur, according to the Genesis GV80 website.

Additionally, a 10-Airbag System is installed that includes “a center airbag between the two front seats, to help prevent collisions between passengers and subsequent impact injuries,” it said.

The GV80 is also equipped with a blind-spot collision avoidance technology that evasively steers the car to safety to avoid a collision in case the drive is changing lanes or when another vehicle is changing lanes and is approaching towards the car’s rear, the company said on its website. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn’t released crash-test results or overall safety ratings for the GV80. While the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said on Wednesday on Twitter that the GV80 is currently being tested and results should be announced next month.

The vehicle has a starting price of $48,500 for entry level models. The premier 3.5T Prestige model is priced at over $70,000. 

The 2021 GV80 received strong reviews from Car and Driver, with a 10/10 rating. “With a sumptuously appointed and whisper-quiet cabin, the 2021 GV80 is exactly the flagship SUV the Genesis brand needs to be taken seriously by American consumers,” the magazine wrote. 

The GV80 is the fourth Genesis model after Hyundai decided to separate the luxury Genesis models from its high-end car models.

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Review: Mazda’s $35,000 CX-30 Turbo is aimed directly at Mercedes and BMW subcompact SUVs

2021 Mazda CX 30 Turbo._KL_29
2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

  • Just like the Mazda 3 before it, Mazda has given the CX-30 subcompact SUV a turbocharged engine.
  • The turbocharger makes the CX-30 Turbo a competitor against luxury automakers like BMW and Mercedes.
  • The CX-30 Turbo starts at $30,050. My loaner had a $35,400 price tag.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Here’s what we already knew: The perennial Mazda 3, when given a turbocharger, becomes zippy and fun. Here’s what we just learned: When you give that same engine to the CX-30 subcompact SUV, it also becomes a joy.

Not that the CX-30 wasn’t already a joy, mind you. Clearly, Mazda did something right with it. After it was introduced in 2019, the little SUV rocketed to second-best on the automaker’s 2020 US sales charts. 

2021 Mazda CX 30 Turbo._KL_12
2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

Mazda managed to move 38,064 CX-30s last year. It was second only to the ever-popular CX-5, which sold 146,420 examples.

You can get a far cheaper version of the CX-30 if you forego the turbocharger – $22,050 versus the $30,050 starting price from this version. I have no idea if buyers will take the bait on a more powerful CX-30 Turbo, but if enjoyment behind the wheel is something you generally look for in a car, then you’ll find it here.

The 2021 CX-30 Turbo: A taller 3

As a subcompact SUV, the CX-30 slots between the CX-3 and the CX-5. And no, it’s not a CX-4, because that already exists in China. That would be nice, though, if not logical!

2021 Mazda CX 30 Turbo._KL_34
2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

If it helps, think of it as a taller Mazda 3, as the two share the same platform. Mazda did with the CX-30 what it did for the Mazda 3 Turbo: gave it the 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder SkyActiv-G engine from the CX-5, CX-9, and Mazda 6 in the hopes for a more premium and upmarket push. Save for a few visual cues, The CX-30 Turbo looks largely the same as the non-turbo version. 

The biggest difference surfaces when you drive it. 

Details and safety ratings: Turbo time

The Skyactiv-G turbocharged engine produces a claimed 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque on 93-octane fuel. The power drops a bit to 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque on 87-octane fuel. In Turbo guise, the CX-30 is only offered with a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

2021 Mazda CX 30 Turbo._KL_38
2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

Note that the non-turbo versions of the CX-30 make 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. You can get them in either front- or all-wheel drive.

The car measures 14.4 feet long and stands 5.2 feet tall. Its maximum ground clearance comes to eight inches – a bit taller than the 3’s 5.5 inches. Cargo volume comes to 20.2 cubic feet, or about the same as what the 3 hatchback offers. The EPA estimates the CX-30 Turbo to return 22 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined. 

2021 Mazda CX 30 Turbo._KL_27
2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

The regular CX-30 earned five stars in its overall vehicle score when tested for crashworthiness by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, although it only got four stars for rollover risk. Last year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the subcompact SUV its highest award, the Top Safety Pick Plus.

What stands out: Delights in the act of driving

When building the CX-30, it’s clear Mazda didn’t set out to remake the idea of a car. Its goal was to merely build a car – and build it well – so that driving it would come easily and non-invasively to anyone.

2021 Mazda CX 30 Turbo._KL_1
2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

The interior only features stuff you’d actually need, like the climate controls, radio, and navigation. There’s a physical gear selector lever, not buttons with P, R, N, and D on them. The steering wheel has just a handful of controls on it. Only the driver’s seat is powered; the passenger seat is manually adjusted. Some might say this is because the car is affordable. I say it’s because most other cars have gotten far too complicated and expensive.

Once you do start driving, the steering is responsive and the brakes don’t grab hard when you first begin to press the pedal. The addition of the turbo engine gives the car great pickup and acceleration, propelling its egg-shaped body forward with the gumption of a much smaller car. There’s pep right off the line, lending a tangible eagerness to the CX-30 Turbo’s mood.

2021 Mazda CX 30 Turbo._KL_3
2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

I’ve found other cars in the CX-30’s class show their price when it comes to road noise, vibration, and harshness, but the Mazda impressed with its sound deadening and smooth ride. The only real exterior noise came from the wind washing over its body. 

Otherwise, highway cruising was just as polished as cars worth two or three times as much as the CX-30.

What falls short: It’s called subcompact for a reason

I don’t consider myself a large person, but even I thought the back seats in the CX-30 were tight. The trunk, likewise, was petite, and only would probably only fit one large suitcase plus maybe a large duffel bag. 

2021 Mazda CX 30 Turbo._KL_7
2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

But as the car is classed as a subcompact, this is to be expected. Realistically, the CX-30 is for a two-person household that only sometimes needs to put friends or family in the back seat. A family with a small child or two could make it work, but they’d need to trade up for a bigger car as soon as those kids grew.

And while I appreciated the Mazda’s devotion to physical buttons, dials, and switches, scrolling through menus on the infotainment screen proved clunky and slow. The CX-30’s interface felt outdated when compared to the systems offered in competitor vehicles. This system, as The Drive pointed out, makes selecting music difficult. 

How the CX-30 Turbo compares to its competitors

A regular, 186-horsepower 2021 CX-30 starts at $22,050. With its 250 horsepower, the base price for the 2021 CX-30 Turbo jumps to $30,050. My loaner came in the top Premium Plus package and thus had a starting price of $33,900. After a few options and a destination charge, the final MSRP came to $35,400.

2021 Mazda CX 30 Turbo._KL_8
2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

Price-wise, the CX-30 isn’t exactly within spitting distance of the Mini Clubman All4 John Cooper Works ($39,500), Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 ($47,550), or the BMW X2 M35i ($46,450). 

But in power, it is. In this sense, you’re getting quite a bit of engine for almost $10,000 less.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

Buyers might balk at the premium price that the addition of the turbo engine commands, but it’s clear who Mazda is aiming for with this upmarket push. And while the interior of the CX-30 is nice, it’s still no Mercedes. 

The newly turbocharged CX-30 and 3 drive well, but they are still based on entry-level cars from what, for a very long time, has been an economically focused brand. Keep in mind that the non-turbo CX-30 competes with the Jeep Renegade, Kia Seltos, and Subaru Crosstrek. Among those “entry-level errand-runners” (Mazda’s words), it’s king. 

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

But against the existing luxury brands, ones whose lineups already include more powerful engines? Are consumers willing to shell out thousands more for what basically amounts to a turbocharged Mazda with all-wheel drive? Because it’s asking a lot.

That remains to be seen.

Our impressions: It’s fun!

Pleasant. 

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

That’s the word that thumped around in my head during the time I spent with the CX-30 Turbo. I haven’t driven many new cars I can confidently say feel like they have much of a personality, but the turbocharged CX-30’s playfulness is palpable. 

Its light-footedness and agility, paired with its eagerness off the line, make for an impish little SUV. With acute steering, good brakes, and torque on your side, you find yourself tucking around slower cars and tossing the CX-30 around corners with a bit more spunk than you would in something bigger and heavier. There’s no reason everyday driving has to be a snooze, and Mazda has proven that.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

As an added bonus, there’s even an off-road traction assist function that helps with any off-roading you might want to do. I’m not saying you should immediately take your CX-30 to the Baja 1000, but during low-traction situations such as over a blanket of hard-packed snow, the Mazda felt sure-footed. The 360-degree monitor, which remains active up to speeds of 9.3 mph, helped me see the terrain all around me.

Yes, the CX-30 is expensive and the room for rear passengers and cargo is a bit cramped. But it’s undoubtedly a fun car wrapped up in a very unassuming package. If you’re someone who wants something that will plant a smile on your face but also doesn’t scream for attention with brand snobbery, this is your friend.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

Just be ready to pay for it.

♦♦♦

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

Read the original article on Business Insider